EDITORIAL: Lessons from south of the Orange

26 November 2021 | Opinion

The legitimacy conferred upon southern African liberation movements by their war and freedom credentials is no longer sticking.

Entitlement, punctuated by complacency in service delivery, became common place in many of such movements. Internal infighting, to ensure longevity in power and unfettered access to national resources, are tenser in former liberation movements compared to their non-liberation rivals.

In Namibia, the first writing on the wall came in 2019. And those who thought this was a flash in the pan were reminded again in 2020 when the ruling party lost the economic hubs of the country, including the capital city, to the opposition.

In South Africa, the ANC was soundly pummelled in recent local authority elections. Once a glorious movement, the party has lost that country’s commercial capital, Johannesburg.

The seat of government, the capital city Pretoria, is gone too, just as the country’s second biggest economic hub, Durban. Richards Bay, the second busiest harbour in that country, is also gone.

Ekhuruleni, the country’s manufacturing hub, is in opposition hands now. The less said about Cape Town, the third biggest economic hub and a forte of the main opposition, the Democratic Alliance, the better.

These changes do not just happen because a god somewhere in the sky commanded so. These are results of frustration and loss of hope in the former revered movements. Unless they re-invest themselves into people-centred formations, they will perish one by one in no time.

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